Robert Lewandowski, the Bayern Munich striker and the captain of the Polish national football team, won this year’s ranking of the 50 Most Influential People in Polish Sport run by the “Forbes Magazine” and “Pentagon Research”. The second place was taken by the President of the Polish Football Association, Zbigniew Boniek. Daniel Obajtek – the President of PKN ORLEN, the Strategic Sponsor of the Polish Olympic Committee and the Polish Olympic Team (6th place), Olgierd Cieślik – the President of Totalizator Sportowy, the General Sponsor of the Polish Olympic Committee and the Polish Olympic Team (11th) and the President of the Polish Olympic Committee Andrzej Kraśnicki (14th) also were ranked high.
The ranking of the 50 Most Influential People in Polish Sport is an annual attempt to assess the Polish sports market and the most important people who create it – athletes, trainers, sports activists, entrepreneurs, sponsors and sports journalists. The list is created by the economic magazine “Forbes” and the research company “Pentagon Research”.
In 2020, the ranking was compiled basing on the analysis of the recognisability, image and media coverage of people associated with Polish sport, as well as based on the assessment of a 33-member expert chapter, consisting of, among others, marketing specialists, sports market analysts, academics dealing with sports issues or former athletes.
Robert Lewandowski was recognized as the most influential man in Polish sport for the second time in history
The footballer had the best season in his career. In the 2019/2020 season FC Bayern München won in the Bundesliga, the German Cup and, above all, in the Champions League; the Pole became the best scorer in all games – in total he scored 55 goals in 47 matches. There is no wonder that UEFA recognized Robert Lewandowski as the best footballer in Europe and the Goal.com portal as the best one in the world.
The captain of the Polish national team won the “Forbes” and “Pentagon Research” ranking for the second time. He made it for the first time in 2015, in the first edition of the ranking. Zbigniew Boniek was the top winner in the next four years. This time, the President of the Polish Football Association took the second place. The podium was completed by Czesław Lang, the General Director of Tour de Pologne.
One of the greatest sports sensations of this year, not only in Poland, was created by Iga Świątek. The 19-year-old tennis player unexpectedly won the Roland Garros Tournament, becoming the first Polish winner of the Grand Slam event. This success enabled her to make a debut in the ranking of the 50 Most Influential People in Polish Sport, taking a very high 10th place. Bartosz Zmarzlik also debuted spectacularly; he defended his world title a few weeks ago, and became the most successful Polish speedway rider in history. He was ranked 22nd on the list of “Forbes” and “Pentagon Research”.
– Robert Lewandowski reached the sports peak, practically becoming the best footballer in the world but the success of Iga Świątek should not be diminished in the global hierarchy. Bartosz Zmarzlik, on the other hand, proved his dominance in speedway, which is highly valued and well-organised in our country. All three of them have a huge power to influence the Polish sport – concludes Adam Pawlukiewicz, a head of the research and development department at “Pentagon Research” and a co-creator of the ranking.
The ranking highlighted the business strength
This year’s ranking, prepared during the coronavirus pandemic, clearly shows the important role of entrepreneurs, managers and activists involved in the sports market development. It is proved by the high positions of, among others, presidents of state-owned companies, on which depends the financing of Polish sport to a large extent: Daniel Obajtek – the President of PKN ORLEN (6th place), Olgierd Cieślik – the President of Totalizator Sportowy (11th), Igor Klaja – the President of OTCF, the founder of the 4F brand (15th), or Zbigniew Jagiełło – the President of PKO BP (28th). The owners of the leading sports organisations in Poland also were ranked high: Dariusz Mioduski – Legia Warszawa (12th) Jacek and Piotr Rutkowski – Lech Poznań (13th), as well as Maciej Kawulski and Martin Lewandowski – KSW (16th).
– For the first time in the history of sport, the games in the presidents’ offices became more meaningful than the struggles on the pitch due to the pandemic. The ranking emphasises the role of club owners, event organisers or sponsors in building the value of the Polish sports market – says Krzysztof Domaradzki, a “Forbes” journalist and a co-creator of the ranking.
The Ambassadors of the Best Practice in Sport
We also got to know the Ambassadors of the Best Practice in Sport. This distinction is awarded to people who in a special way, very often selflessly, support Polish sport or set the highest standards on the sports market. They can be athletes, trainers, entrepreneurs or average sports enthusiasts, often not spotted by media but setting a good example and motivating others. The laureates are chosen by the chapter consisting of academics who help to create the list of the 50 Most Influential People in Polish Sport.
This year, the Ambassadors of the Best Practice in Sport are:
– Marcin Gortat – a long-standing NBA basketball player, a founder of the MG13 foundation and Gortat Schools (a reason: for skilful use of popularity to promote basketball, organising camps for the most talented children and philanthropic activities)
– Stanisław Kowalski – 110-year-old sports enthusiast, the oldest man in Poland, world record-holder in the 105+ age category in the 100-meter run and discus throw (a reason: for overcoming barriers, sand and positive attitude towards life).
Source: Forbes Magazine
Polish Olympic Committee Communications Office